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Baseball: Extra! Extra! — Faith three-peats as champs


Richie Ashburn would not have called the bottom of the eighth in last Thursday’s District One Class A title tilt between No. 2 Faith Christian and No. 1 Delco Christian “a Spalding Guide inning.”

The game ended with a walk-off rundown. Which gave Faith starting pitcher Joey Smith the save.

No matter. Faith rallied to beat Delco 4-3 in extra innings at Immaculata for the Lions’ second one-run district title championship over the Knights in two years. The win also gave Faith its third straight district crown.

With runners at second and third, Smith induced an eighth-inning grounder for the second out. A Delco base running blunder put two men on third base.

“One of the runners had to go back,” Smith noticed. “(First baseman) Peyton (Curry) thought he would pickle them.”

It was impressive that Smith closed at all. He started the first three innings, switched to catcher and returned to the bump.

“I asked to go back,” Smith said. “I felt very confident and my arm felt strong. I’m a senior, so this is my last chance. In the first few innings, I went for junk. In the last inning, I fired fastballs because I didn’t think the junk was working.”

Delco plated two runs in the first. Jacob Davis halved the lead with an RBI triple in the second.

“It’s the fight in our team,” Davis offered. “I got the pitches I wanted and came out with the big hits.” Davis homered in last Tuesday’s 12-3 semifinal win over No. 3 Plumstead Christian.

Delco ace Tyler Rossini issued his third, two-out walk of the game to Parker Curry in the sixth. Davis took advantage by singling Curry home. Faith took the 3-2 lead in the seventh when Aidan Fretz tripled and scored on Carter Heller’s single.

“I took his outside pitch to right field and got on my horse,” Fretz described.

“I really respect how Tyler plays the game,” lauded Faith manager Ed Curry. “The feeling was that if we kept playing Faith baseball, eventually hits are going to fall.”

Rossini’s RBI seventh-inning single knotted the score at 3. Peyton Curry whacked a two-out double in the eighth and scored on Parker Curry’s misplayed flyball.

The Knights (14-6) handed Faith (17-3) its only two losses to Pennsylvania teams. Faith won the game that mattered most.

“We were obviously hungry to beat them,” Davis said. “This time, it just clicked. Rossini shut us down in the past and played a great game today but we got the hits when we needed to.”

“Carter (Heller) started the two games against Delco. I couldn’t let them be ready for him,” Ed Curry relayed. “They hadn’t seen Joey.” Heller fanned five in three relief innings.

Faith’s deep lineup averaged over nine runs per game. The Lions will face District Three runner-up Halifax, at a site to be determined, in the first round of states on Monday.

“We’ve had great teams in the past, but this team is a true brotherhood,” Ed Curry continued. “We have the ‘Fab Five’: my five freshmen that are super talented. We are 12 players deep, which has been the secret all year for us. It’s been the players accepting the roles they’ve been given, which may not always be what they like to do, but understanding that it is for the greater good.”

Curry continued, “I set out to prove something to the kids. You can have athletic excellence as long as it is the right priority in your life and Christ is first. When you lose, if baseball is first, you’re rolling on the ground crying.”

The Lions would be wise to heed their skipper’s words. But last Thursday, they looked like a squad with a few more wins left in their season.